You want to have the welfare of your employees at heart but it’s difficult to know where to start when your employees provide their services in the homes of the clients they serve. One home might present completely different challenges than the next. This article will walk you through three things you can do to protect your home service employees.
Train for Different Situations
Make sure your employees are trained for different situations and risks that come with working in various home service roles. It’s important to think widely about different risks entailed to ensure that your employees will be able to feel comfortable and confident in whatever situation they are put in.
Just as it’s important to train an employee in dealing with a variety of different plumbing problems from leaks to broken pipes, it’s also important to train them in handling situations when a kid is home alone or when they personally feel unsafe. Establish company-wide policies for these incidents so that your employees feel comfortable and confident.
You have a responsibility to provide your employees with the equipment they need to protect their health and safety. In order to effectively do their job, they need not only the equipment required for the necessary projects but also the equipment that will ensure they are safe throughout the labor.
For example, pest control business owners should provide their employees with protection against painful insect bites and stings. Having these precautions is essential so that employees will feel comfortable enough to do their job. These preventative measures not only protect your employees but they will also protect you from potential charges.
In the age of the coronavirus, it’s especially important to think about specific COVID precautions to protect both your customers and your employees. For home service business personnel, they will be going in and out of many people’s homes and will resultantly come into contact with many different people and germs.
Think about what precautions you want your employees to take—including wearing masks at all times, wearing gloves, and using hand sanitizer before and after entering an individual’s home.
Making a plan to protect your employees that provide in-home service doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with these suggestions and work your way from there. Implementing even a few changes can greatly affect your employees’ work experience.
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Businesses need marketing. Specifically, they need marketing to be effective and to both convert consumers into customers and turn customers into repeat business. There are lots of tools available that businesses can leverage for effective marketing. Here are some essentials that you should have on your radar.
Online reviews can be a powerful marketing tool. A majority of people look to reviews before choosing a business for goods or services. What they see as far as reviews of your business can make the difference between them choosing you or your competition. Positive reviews can be a strong influence in this regard, as can how you respond to negative reviews. You can encourage your customers to leave reviews by offering incentives in exchange. This could be a one-time discount, points in your rewards system, or entries for a prize drawing. You can even just ask. A follow-up text or email after a purchase can be a great way to do this.
The Right Social Media Platform
Social media is pretty much everywhere these days. If you aren't using it as a part of your marketing strategy, you're missing out. Of course, with so many different platforms, it can be tricky to know which ones you should be using. Not all platforms are right for all businesses. When determining what platform or platforms you should be using, examine who your target audience is. Different demographics use different platforms, so you should be focusing your social media efforts on those that are most used by people you want to reach. Another thing to keep in mind is that different platforms work better for different kinds of posts. Once you choose a platform, cater your posts to the type and style that works best for it. This will give you the best ROI for your social media marketing.
Video is becoming an increasingly popular and important marketing tool. Many people find videos to be more interesting and engaging than written content, so if that's what your marketing needs to improve on you might need to add some video content. You can do videos that advertise your products and services while showcasing your company's brand and personality. How-to videos have recently seen a surge in popularity as well, becoming one of the ways businesses are striving to maintain consumer interest and engagement during the current ongoing pandemic. If that wasn't enough of a reason to use video, keep in mind that you can optimize videos to improve SEO rankings as well, which will also make it easier for your business to be found on search engines.
Blogs can be valuable tools for businesses. It's hard to overstate the importance of content when it comes to marketing and SEO, and blogging is a great way to add content to your site. It can also be used as a way to communicate with consumers, which can be great if that is one of your weak points. Blogging can’t fix all your communication problems, but it can enhance your marketing campaign. Quality blogs can help consumers see you as more of an authority in your industry, and adding a comments section at the bottom can provide you with an opportunity to engage in some dialog with them.
Email is another great way to communicate with your customers and can be an excellent marketing tool as well. Of course, for it to work, you'll have to get consumer email addresses to contact them with, but there are multiple ways you can approach that, so you should be able to find a method that works. Once you have email addresses you can use them to send customers personalized email marketing messages, which can help you generate repeat business. Personalization is key here, and is a huge factor in getting your messages read and keeping them out of the spam folder.
Data analytics is key to the success of marketing efforts. It's what allows you to understand and interpret customer data in ways that will be meaningful and helpful to your business. When used correctly, it can help you understand your target audience, know where to find them, and how best to reach them. It also plays a key role in your marketing personalization efforts. By understanding consumer habits and patterns you become better able to predict future trends and can use that information to guide your business practices. You can and should use data analytics to guide your marketing strategies, identify what is working and what isn't, and refine as you go.
Perhaps one of the simplest ways to market your business is to take advantage of online business listings. This is a great way to raise awareness for your business among your local consumer base. Most of the time when people are searching for a business, they prefer for it to be one local and close by. By claiming business listings you increase the chance that your business will be one of the ones they find. There are general listings that are good to claim, like Google, Facebook, and Yelp, and other industry-specific listings that you should also claim. You can improve your chances of being found even further by optimizing your business listings.
Browser Push Notifications
Web browser push notifications are great ways for websites to engage consumers. These notifications work by sending messages to consumers after they opt in to getting them. Some companies find that using a soft opt in approach helps them get more people to opt in. Once customers click on the notification they are directed to the page of your choosing. These notifications can be used to confirm transactions, link to informative pages, to offer promotions, or to mark different points in the customer lifecycle. They're a good way to repeatedly engage consumers and encourage future interactions.
There are a lot of tools businesses have at their disposal that they can and should be using as a part of their marketing strategies and efforts. These tools can make a huge difference in whether or not a business is successful, and how successful they are. If you aren't using some of these methods, give them a try and see if they work for you.
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Construction companies can create a lot of waste with a project. Demolishing a house can cause a large pile of rubble to pile up which will need to be extracted and deposited into a landfill. By reducing waste, you reduce your business’s environmental footprint and decrease certain costs. Here are 8 ways you can reduce waste on your construction site.
Plan Work Ahead
One of the biggest things you can do is to plan your work ahead. If you do your planning carefully, you can order only what you need and no more. You can plan on using recycling bins and plan strategic locations of where to put those bins on site. Planning ahead also lets you choose your vendor. You want to choose a vendor who aligns with your goals as a company, preferably one who uses recyclable materials. By doing so, you can reduce the amount of waste your construction company produces on site.
Recycle What You Can
Not everything needs to go to the landfill. Are there good bricks from the house exterior that can be reused in another project? Many materials work well in other projects. Bricks and other masonry can be broken down for roads. Concrete is also able to be recycled. You may think that everything should be demolished when you do a project, but it’s important to try and recycle as much as you can to decrease the amount of waste your project produces and to decrease the amount of waste in the landfills. You can place recycling bins on site and train your workers to prioritize recycling materials. Obviously, not everything will be able to be recycled, but you want to be able to recycle as much as you can.
Use Disposal Equipment
Speaking of recycling bins, you want to make sure that you have disposal equipment readily available on site. This can include a number of dumpsters, recycling bins and the like. These bins give you a place to store the material that you are collecting from the project. When choosing a dumpster, you have many options. One such option is the bottom dump hoppers. Bottom dump hoppers fit inside small workspaces and can create a safer working environment. Disposal equipment gives you a place to put the recyclable and waste materials so that they don’t become hazards to your workers.
Thinking green will also help you reduce the amount of waste that you produce from your construction project. It’s important to recycle, but thinking green is so much more than that. You want the buildings you build to be energy efficient, meaning that the lighting and the windows need to reduce the cost of energy. You want the buildings to create less of an environmental impact, reducing the amount of water and light needed to maintain them. Plus, by going green, you and your construction company save money. Going green is the modern way of construction, and it does much more than just saving you waste—it saves you energy as well as money.
Reduce Mistakes on Site
In addition to thinking green, recycling, and planning ahead, you want to reduce mistakes on site. Mistakes are costly and time consuming to fix and can make much more unnecessary waste, which is why they should be avoided at all costs. Some mistakes will happen, due to human error, but it is your responsibility to your company to reduce them. It should be a top priority. To reduce mistakes, you may need to do more thorough and frequent training of your employees. It may mean that you measure everything one more time, just to be sure. But by necessity, reducing mistakes requires you and your team to have good, clear communication established. Without good and clear communication, mistakes are much more likely to occur.
Deconstruction of Buildings
Another way to reduce waste is to deconstruct buildings instead of demolishing them. When you demolish a building, you reduce walls, masonry, carpentry and other items to rubble. All of those pieces will then need to go to a landfill because they’re too small to be reused. Deconstruction allows you to recycle more materials by taking the building apart piece by piece. These pieces can be salvageable and your construction company can even earn a profit from it, which is another one of the benefits of deconstruction. It’s more time consuming and costly, but it is better for the environment as it reduces waste.
Try New Building Materials
Another way to reduce waste is to use new building materials that are recyclable and energy efficient. This can include recycled steel, which has already been recycled and which can further be repurposed; bamboo, which grows back quickly; and plant-based polyurethane rigid foam, which is used in insulation. These new materials can be more costly than regular materials, but they are better for the environment and they will reduce the waste from your project. It is in your best interests to look at other options of building materials.
Store Materials Properly
Another way to reduce waste on your construction site is to store your building materials properly. To store materials correctly, you want them out of the reach of the elements that could cause them to break and deteriorate and cause you to replace them, creating more waste. Storing materials correctly involves using protective waterproof tarps, stacking the materials correctly (this also prevents them from forming a tripping hazard on the site) and keeping certain materials out of the sun (such as plastics and any fabrics you may be using for building material). Storing materials properly should be part of your company’s procedure to keep the site organized and reduce the amount of waste your project produces.
Waste management is an important part of construction. While there will always be some amount of waste with every construction project, you want to do your best to minimize the amount of waste in order to save costs and reduce your company’s impact on the environment.
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Do you have a grand idea for a business, but don’t know what to do to get it off of the ground? When starting a business, you might despair because you know you need to have a starting point but don’t yet have it. That’s okay. While you will need a starting point eventually, in the meantime, you can continue to hone your idea and fine tune it.
Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor has some major benefits. A mentor is someone who’s been where you are and can help you through it. They give advice, but it’s specific advice for your specific situation. They can help because they understand. A mentor is also someone who works one-on-one with you. To find a mentor, it’s important to reach out to older colleagues and professors who work in the field you desire to go into and ask them if they want to be your mentor. Finding a mentor can be difficult, but once you have a mentor, you will have someone you can count on to guide you on your journey to starting your own business.
Continue Your Education
Another way to build a business is to continue your education. You may feel that your degree will not help you get the job you want. You can specialize your education by taking trade classes, such as electrician courses or real estate courses. Online real estate courses usually lack engaging videos, but some schools have put in the time for multimedia content. Continuing your education will help you find a niche that you can start a business in.
Networking brings enormous benefits to building a business, and it can be very simple to start. Talk about your business idea with your friends and family. You might find that one of your friends is good at marketing and has a sister who is big in advertising. You might also find that your friend’s uncle has an empty business building that he hasn’t sold yet but isn’t bringing him any revenue. By networking, you can put together the pieces you need and the people you need to build your business.
Starting a business can be a challenge, but it is not impossible. If you feel stuck, find a mentor, pursue more education or just keep networking until you find a lead that leads you to fulfil your dreams.
Here’s another article you might like: 3 Keys to Attracting New Customers to Your Business
Restaurants all over have struggled to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. Many have had to close their doors permanently as the economic impact became too much to get through. Those that have managed to survive this far have had to make some significant adaptations in order to continue to exist that you should seriously consider adopting in your restaurant.
Expand Takeout and Delivery
For a time, takeout and delivery were essentially the only options available to restaurants who were told they weren't allowed to continue offering dine-in services. Many rose to the occasion, shifting their business models and operations to support these new ways of doing business. As with any change to your business operations, there are some things you need to know in order to be successful. You need to be deliberate with your marketing and make decisions that will help you maintain a decent profit margin. If you notice things about your takeout and delivery model that aren't working the way you need them to, identify why they aren't working and then fix the problem.
Though dine-in restrictions are lifting, many restaurants are required to follow specific health recommendations in order to qualify for providing dine-in services. Among these requirements is usually the mandate to follow certain capacity limits and social distancing protocols. This helps protect your employees and your customers alike, as social distancing helps reduce the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19. You can use tools to help remind customers and employees to maintain social distancing requirements. Visual reminders can be of great benefit so you don't have to repeatedly remind people yourself.
Increased Sanitation Protocols
Good, effective sanitizing practices will also help protect your employees and customers from contracting illnesses, including - but not limited to - COVID-19. During peak business hours it can be easy to let cleaning and sanitation slide in lieu of handling a rush of orders, but it's important that you don't become lax when it comes to cleaning and sanitizing even when it's busy. Customers generally don't like to be kept waiting for their orders, but they'll be more likely to forgive a bit of a delay if they understand that the reason for it is that you are protecting their health and safety.
Failing to adapt to the coronavirus situation that is currently plaguing the world will likely spell the end of your restaurant. It is necessary to your survival that you make changes in order to stay afloat. Adaptations to consider include expanding takeout and delivery options, practicing social distancing, and increasing your sanitation protocols. These changes will help you continue serving customers and protect both them and your employees.
Gathering new customers should be a priority for every business. Customers are the lifeblood of your business and while you will have customers who stay with your business for years, you are going to need more customers to keep your business growing. To do so, you will need to focus on those new customers and appeal to their needs.
Marketing in the Right Places
One of the ways your business can attract new customers is to market in the right places. It’s important that your product is offered to those who will use it, which means you should have a target audience. A target audience is your business’s ideal customer and you should identify everything about them, from where they live, what their lifestyle is like, etc. so that you know who you are marketing to. Target marketing is effective because your marketing goals are focused. You will get more people than just your intended audience, but without that direction, your business will have a harder time gaining new customers.
Another priority of your business should be making sure that your customers have positive experiences. Provide the best quality service that you can and be accommodating to your customers. You want them to be pleased with your business so that they will leave a positive review. There is great power in positive reviews. 68% of customers say reading positive reviews influences them to visit a business. If your customers don’t have a positive experience, you may lose their business and their negative reviews can negatively impact your business for years. It is well worth the effort to make sure your customers have a positive experience at your business.
Utilize Social Media
Another way you can attract new customers to your business is to utilize social media—specifically, the right kind of social media. If your target audience is older men and women, Facebook should be your priority social media to use. If your target audience is college students, Instagram should be your priority social media to use. You can use multiple platforms, but your social media campaign should be synced and updated frequently. Make the most out of social media to attract new customers.
Attracting new customers may feel daunting and overwhelming. But it is doable. By having a target audience, focusing on positive experiences and utilizing social media, you can attract new customers to your business.
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One of the things that we've learned from the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn is that it's hard to over prepare your business for an economic crisis. Many small businesses have had to close up permanently, and even large retailers have suffered. What the future holds in store is uncertain, but one thing is for sure: it's important to do what you can to future-proof your business. But how do you do this?
Diversify Your Services
Customers are a business's lifeblood. You need to make sure they have a reason to keep doing business with you. Providing multiple services is one way to increase the chances that you'll retain current customers and attract new ones. If current customers have been happy with the service or product you offer, they may be willing to try your other goods and services. The more of a customer's needs you can fulfill, the more likely you are to become their one-stop shop. Providing multiple services can also increase your customer base, as you will appeal to a broader range of consumers.
Identify Your Weaknesses
Every business has weaknesses. There is always room for improvement. To be the best business possible, it's necessary to identify areas of weakness and work to fix them. Is there an area of your business that should run more efficiently? Are current company procedures producing more waste than is necessary? Are you spending your money inefficiently? Is your marketing effective? When identifying weaknesses and their solutions, get input from multiple groups of people. Your customers and employees likely have ideas about what could be improved, and may even have some great suggestions for how to go about it.
Develop a Forward-Thinking Attitude
Looking to the future can help you anticipate the direction the market will take. It's also good for helping you identify consumer needs, sometimes in advance of the consumer being aware of what they truly want. Identifying and fulfilling consumer needs is one of the foundational principles of doing business. And as counterintuitive as it may sound, in order to anticipate what the future is likely to hold, it is sometimes necessary to look to the past. History tends to repeat itself to a certain degree. Cause and effect are not separable. By looking at past trends and patterns, you can get a sense for what you're likely to encounter in the future.
Expand the Role of Technology
Technology is constantly advancing and becoming more and more integrated into everyday life. As more relevant technological innovations become available, it's important for you to expand the role technology plays in your business. This will help you stay ahead of your competition. Of course, as you integrate more technology into your business operations, you might find that you need more support, and it doesn't necessarily need to be in house support. Outsourcing IT functions has benefits for your business. You may find that outsourcing grants you access to more specialized help for a better price.
Improve Customer Experience
If customers are happy with their experience with your business, they're more likely to turn into lifelong customers who will act as ambassadors for you. This is even more true of dissatisfied customers who you turn into happy customers. In fact, 87% of customers will share those positive experiences with others. This illustrates how important it is to ensure that the customer experience is excellent. When studying the customer experience, look at the path the customer goes on from the point of discovery, to the point where they are considering your product, to the point of sale. Once the sale is finalized, the goal is to turn them into repeat customers. Exceeding customer expectations and continuing to build the relationship with the customer are necessary to achieving this.
Pay Attention to Global Trends
In a similar vein to looking at historical patterns to determine future trends, it's important to pay attention to global trends as well. It takes time for trends to make their way around the world, even with how rapid communication is right now. Keeping tabs on trends in your industry around the world can help you adapt your business more quickly than your competitors. Make being on the cutting edge of your industry part of your company brand, and your customers will appreciate your commitment to innovation. Making innovation and staying ahead of your competition a part of what your business is known for helps keep your business at the top of your industry. This improves your company's reputation and can help it survive future hardships by getting you ahead sooner.
Make Adaptation Part of Company Culture
Adaptation is critical to long-term business success. The ability and willingness to adapt should be a part of the company culture. A business that encourages innovation and adaptation in its employees and business practices is more likely to weather the storms that might threaten its success. Employees who are on the front lines and regularly perform normal operating procedures likely have much to contribute when it comes to ideas about how to adapt and improve various aspects of a business. If adaptation isn't already a part of your company culture, consider changing your company culture to include it.
Retain Quality Employees
It would be foolish to overlook the role your employees play in making sure your business survives well into the future. Similarly to the consumer's role, without employees, it's really hard to have a business. Of course, it's not just enough to simply hire employees. You have to hire good employees. Once you've hired the right people, you need to keep them. Employee turnover can be incredibly expensive, so it's really in your best interests to find the right people to begin with and retain them. Retaining your best employees requires knowing them and what they want and need from you as their employer. You need to make them feel valued, whether that comes in the form of benefits, pay raises, promotion, recognition, or other perks. It really pays to keep your best employees happy. They'll return the favor by keeping your business running smoothly, leading innovative efforts, and building customer relationships that will help your business last.
No one starts a business with the intent to fail. In order to succeed, there are things you need to do that will help ensure that your business lasts long into the future. Not only will these measures help your business's longevity, it will also help your business be more successful than it otherwise would be.
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When people ask what you do for work, they're expecting something that fits within the typical 9–5 type of job that most adults end up working, or some variation on the traditional eight-hour shift. They don't usually expect to hear that you are running your own business. It's usually considered a risky endeavor to start out, but it actually comes with some pretty decent financial benefits you should be aware of.
One of the biggest concerns people have with starting their own business is the idea that it's not likely to be stable for some time. Especially in times of economic uncertainty, this can be a pretty significant barrier. The thing is though, having multiple clients and customers may actually mean you're in a more stable position running your own business than you would be in a traditional 9–5 job. There, you might be only one negative experience away from being fired and having to find a new job. If you have multiple clients and customers, losing one or two is likely to be less impactful to your bottom line, and the remaining ones will still help you bring in some money as you try to replace the ones you've lost.
More Control of Your Money
If you're working a regular 9–5, you're likely either salaried or paid an hourly rate. Either way, you're working for a predetermined wage that you have little control over. On the other hand, if you run your own business, you are the one in control of the money. This means you control how much you pay yourself, which can mean a great deal more in your pocket than you'd get at a 9–5. As a business owner you also have control over saving in a 401(k). There are a few things you need to do to get an EIN and start saving in a solo 401(k). Make sure you do your research and get yourself set up right.
More Tax Breaks
Being a business owner also means you get access to tax breaks that would otherwise not be available. Most people know that you can write off business supplies, but did you know that a business lunch can be a partially deductible expense as well? There are some rules that apply to tax breaks. For example, if you want to have a home office, you can write off related expenses. However, if you use that room for things other than business use, you probably won't be able to write it off. Make sure you check out the current tax guidelines to find out what tax breaks are available to you.
While pursuing your own business idea and working as a business owner may seem like a daunting task, it can be a rewarding one. It comes with some significant financial benefits that warrant some serious consideration. If the 9–5 grind is wearing you down, it might be time to consider venturing into owning your own business.
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